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Thread: 1st Trip to Alaska

  1. #1
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    Default 1st Trip to Alaska

    First of all I want to say hello to all and I am an absolute avid fisherman from Valley Forge PA and I am in need of some seriuos help trying to plan a trip. I fish for kings, steel, and coho's up on the Salmon River in Pulaski NY multiple times a year but I also fish for Flounder during the summer months. Right now we go a couple times a week to go Striper Fishing on Island Beach State Park in New Jersey.
    Pretty much I am trying to plan out a trip to Alaska in Mid July-Early August and would really appreciate any information that can be given. My Dad who is not an avid fisherman is paying for this trip for my graduation from College up in New Hampshire and he won't/can't deal with roughing it. I have always dreamed about going to Alaska and soon enough I will be there.
    If you could plan a trip of a lifetime that would involve both Salmon River fishing while multiple species are running at the same time and good Halibut fishing during the same time when would you go?
    2nd Could you do both from one lodge or should we focus on Salmon for a few days at one lodge and then go to another for halibut?
    My Pops was looking at the Whale Pass Lodge and I looked into it and it looked very nice but want to know if that area is good for fishing? I am willing to go pretty much anywhere to have an ultimate once in a lifetime fishing experience so need to know what areas, towns, lodges, are best for 1) Salmon Fishing 2) Halibut Fishing, 3) Timing 4) Lodges if you know any 5) Books to buy and read before I go up.
    Please understand any help is better than no help at all and I need my Pops to start loving fishing so that we can spend even more time together and I think that this would be the best place in the world to do so.
    So Thanks ahead of time and please post shortcuts to anything I should know/read/get etc.
    Thanks Jon McNichol

  2. #2
    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Smile Do your homework

    Welcome Jon!

    Congratulations on your graduation and the fishing trip that goes with it. I would recommend doing a lot of research. Alaska is huge and there are countless opportunities.

    Timing is everything for salmon, and it depends on whether you want to fish for them in the rivers or saltwater, as well as what kind of salmon you want to fish for. Mid-July can be great for kings in freshwater, can be good for reds (sockeye) depending on where you're at, and is a bit early for most of the coho fishing. Later in August might be much better for silvers, but will probably be a bit late for kings and reds. Halibut are around all year, but depending on the time and where you go you might be able to combine it with salmon, rockfish or lingcod. Weather may also be better or worse.

    Kodiak certainly has good halibut, king and silver fishing, and a lodge may be the way to go if your dad isn't a die-hard. But you might also find more diverse fishing opportunties if you go with a couple of different outfits/charters. And there are plenty of do-it-yourself options. As you delve farther into your trip planning, you'll find you certainly can't do it all in one trip, so I would recommend learning as much as you can and then narrowing your focus based on what you're most interested in.

    Alaska Fish & Game has lots of good publications on fishing to help understand timing, tactics and different regions:
    http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/region2/pubs.cfm

    I would also recommend the book Alaska Fishing: The Ultimate Angler's Guide for a primer on all that Alaska has to offer.

    And of course, scour this forum as it has a wealth of information. And keep asking questions. Good luck in your planning efforts.
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

  3. #3
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    That post pretty much hit it. Kodiak is a great spot. Whale pass is beautiful. Fishing is awesome for all species. Reds would still be in the Buskin I think. I know there is a charter in Kodiak that frequents this board and seems very good. (is it blueberry?)

    I'd also say that in that time you really can't miss given we have a normal run. Either Kodiak or say the Kenai Pennisula is great. Keep asking questions!

  4. #4

    Default Great info

    Great post Wyo2AK.

    I agree with looking at Kodiak for one-stop shopping (or fishing)... The king salmon season ends in most areas on July 31, so if you are looking for kings, certainly plan to be here the last part of July. The coho are usually beginning the last week of July and into August.

    Other areas of interest are the Kenai Peninsula for combo fishing. Seward in particular will have great halibut, ling cod and sea bass fishing along with salt water coho, however you would have to make a 2 hour drive (one way) to get to the king salmon fishing. The scenery out of Seward is UNBELIEVABLE nonetheless!!! The full service lodges will be hard to come by on the Kenai Peninsula... most will stay in bed and breakfasts, or cabins, or hotels (no roughing it here). However, if you are interested in a diverse experience, I recommend renting an RV. This will open the doors to Alaska, allow you to see/experience much of what this great land has to offer... and with the RV's of today, it is certainly not roughing it.

    Here are a couple of links to get you started:

    Alaska Sportsmans Lodge. These guys have lodges in many different areas of the state, including Kodiak.

    All Alaska Outdoors These guys are located on the Kenai Peninsula and provide for a very diverse experience, including fly-outs, bear viewing, and great fishing.

    Again, there was great wisdom in the previous post.... "Do your homework!". There is much to do and many places to go in Alaska.

    Good luck and congratulations!

  5. #5
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Default Welcome

    Alaska is a big place. Do you plan to fish South Central or south east.

    A member on this site "CanCan" is a guide in SE I think.

    There are other sponsors that can help you.

    If South central, Homer is the best for Halibut and in August Silvers out of Seward, Whittier or Valdez would be good for you.

    Subscribe to Alaska Magazine. It also has some information.

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    If i were you, i'd book a river front lodge on the Kenai River (Kenai or Soldotna area) during the last two weeks of July.

    Kings will be in the river and that season ends the end of July. Typically red salmon will start to run at that same time. You'll have to travel an hour or so to catch a halibut charter.

    Kenai Kings are generally caught from a boat and reds generally from the bank. I'd spend a day (or more )fishing for kings with a guide either from the lodge where you are staying or hire one privately. I'd spend another day fishing for reds from the bank or boardwalk at the lodge. I'd travel an hour to an hour and a half south to Deep Crek, Anchor Point or Homer and go out on a halibut charter from any number of charter companies.

    Enjoy the planning process and i hope you have a great trip!
    English is an odd language. It can understood through tough thorough thought, though.

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    Default Private message sent

    Jon, i have sent you a p.m. Take a look and get back to me.

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    Member Tight Lines's Avatar
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    [quote=aces-n-eights;362595]If i were you, i'd book a river front lodge on the Kenai River (Kenai or Soldotna area) quote]

    I agree with this one!! Try Earlyfishing.com I have known and fished with the Early's both in Oregon and Alaska. They are full service operation and fish both the Kenai & Kasilof rivers along with Halibut trips & lodging with meals. Check their fishing report, you can scrol down to the dates you are interested in and see how they did this year.

    Dave

  9. #9

    Default Fish Alaska Magazine

    Fish Alaska Magazine, well all very good advise and some real good fishing spots. Guess I'd look up this magazine, more for people like you than some one like me who has lived here for 30 years. But I still get it each month!

    http://www.fishalaskamagazine.com/

    mention my name and you will get no discount, LOL

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    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    Also, the halibut regs. have been tightened up, so double-check the area you are going and make sure you are willing to pay $200+/person for 1 or 2 fish.

    I agree with many, though. Kenai River with a guide for the salmon, then take a trip on the salt. I'd go to Seward, where you'll not only get halibut, but big lingcod and rockfish as well. If you go late enough, the silver salmon fishing can be hot there, too.

    Big caveat to all of that is that there will be a lot of other people around. This is world-class fishing, but it's in the heart of the most populated part of Alaska. This won't be the pristine Alaska experience. If you want privacy, check more into remote lodges. Southeast Alaska has quite a few, and they can put you on salmon and halibut, too.

  11. #11
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    You have come to the right place for sure. Make sure you read and look at everything the members her offer. Our members are great fisherman and a wealth of knowledge about fishing in our great state. Kodiak is a good bet as had been stated but the Kenai in late july for kings and reds can be as good as it gets. You also have a chance to get a nice trophy rainbow later in july too. Just my .02
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    As much as I like the Kenai, if I were coming to Alaska for a once in a lifetime trip, the Kenai in late July would be my last choice. Yes, the fish are large. The crowds, though, are even larger. You'll be sharing the river with hundreds of your closest friends, and even fishing from a boat won't afford much solitude. If you want to do a lodge fishing trip right, Kodiak would be a much better choice, as would a number of places in Southeast AK.

  13. #13
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Default Correct

    Brian is dead on about the crowds too. I forgot about that and I have no idea how. I guess I'm having summer and fall fish dreams all ready. Kodiak is awesome as I stated and there are some great lodges there. The southeast panhandle is an amazing area to fish and take in some stunning beauty. Alot of lodges on the outlying islands too. Keep asking here and if you do your homework you will have the trip of a life time. Oh and keep asking questions on here. It is gonna be a long winter and we are all happy to help out
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have decided on a lodge. Next thing you should decide is if you want to be fishing in the ocean or a river. Depending on which, you would make entirely different choices as to where you would go. If fishing in the ocean is of interest, lots of good info is already posted here. If you want a more remote spot with a smaller boat fishing on a river, look to SW Alaska. Near Dillingham. Lots of great lodges out that way. The Goodnews Lodge comes to mind. But mainly because I floated the Goodnews last year. Great river! Full of silvers in late August. I will put a link below. But remember, there are many such lodges in SW Alaska. I have heard numerous good reports from this one though. Rainbow fishing is big in this part of the state. Also salmon of course but your trip timing will dictate which type. Early/mid July, kings. July, chums and reds (on even numbered years). Late August, silvers. This is a rough timing lay out so don't hold me to it. But that is the general jist of it. No halibut, but I found that boring personally. Did a day trip out of Seward. It just depends on what you are after. And what size water/boat you want to do it in. I am not a big fan of big boats in the ocean. It does not interest me. I would prefer to be on a more intimate sized river catching dollies, rainbows, and salmon. Without another fisherman in sight. But it is up to you and your goals. Just pointing out that fishing Alaska comes in many different flavors.

    http://www.epicfishing.com/

    Below is a link to pictures from our float trip on the Goodnews. It will give you an idea of the size of the river. Very intimate and gin clear. Perfect for fly fishing. Aug/Sept 2007. When it opens, click "slideshow" in the upper right.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/2114408...7603622658629/
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  15. #15

    Default Jon,

    From your post, are you saying you'll have a 3 week trip? If possible, go for it! Our summer trips typically range from July 17 thru Aug. 8. With that amount of time, you can do a few things/destinations. I'm biased towards the Kenai river as that is where our place is; yes, the crowds can be un-nerving but the Kenai can't be beat for the size & quantity of the sockeyes (none better eating!) and the King fishing is world famous. Me, I'd think go to two places if you've got 3 weeks; Kodiak & Kenai or Southeast & Kenai (doesn't seem to make much sense to visit 2 saltwater destinations). Every year I think maybe we'd branch out a bit and go to Kodiak but the Kenai calls (more like yells for our attention when we're up there). One tip for fishing the Kenai; get away from the lower river for reds; you can catch just as many up stream (Sterling area) and the crowds aren't as numerous. Access to a boat (and someone who's knows the river) will open up great areas/scenery.
    Good luck!
    p.s.---plus being based on the Kenai puts you within driving distance of 2 saltwater fisheries; Homer/Deep Creek & Seward; definitely subscribe to the above mentioned magazines.
    Last edited by Big Jim; 11-06-2008 at 23:38. Reason: added info

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Below is a website of a lodge I saw on Larry Csonka's "North to Alaska" recently. They actually have a few lodges to choose from. Looked like a top rate outfit on the tv show. Contacting these folks would be a good step. Have them inform you about your options and make trip timing suggestions.

    http://www.katmailand.com/lodging/kulik.html
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  17. #17

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    Hello Jon,

    I read your post, you have come to the best place for anything Alaska. Asking what you have is completely a personal preference. Give us a bit more info on what you think a once in a life time trip is.
    For myself it would be totally remote were you barely see another angler on the river you are fishing. I would go SW Alaska into Bristol Bay area. The Kenai is awesome but if your going after kings the average king landed in this river takes in the neighborhood of 40 hours. Nushagak River drainage is were you will find multiple salmon species (Depending on timing) and you will catch 20 to 40 kings a day. They are not the 90 pound kings that come out of the kenai or even their 50 pound average kings. They are 30 to 40 pound kings. This drainage has the largest salmon run in the world. (Kvichak River to be exact)

    The most important part about salmon fishing is timing! If you was able to set up a trip that you could have the freedom to come up when ever the timing was perfect then you would be set. Timing really is everything.

    For Halibut I would suggest to take a day trip after you finished with the salmon fishing. You would only need to rent a car out of anchorage and head down to Whitter.

    Good Luck....
    "Give someone a fish and you will feed them for a day. Show someone how to fish and they will just steal your fishing hole and catch more fish then you. Screw them, let them eat chicken!!"

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    Default Thank you all

    Guys
    You have been great in under a day with a wealth of knowledge that is very overwhelming but at the same time exciting. I response to a bunch of your questions I definitely want to fish fresh water either from land or from a float boat. I have already ordered a couple of books and done some research. Again THANK YOU, I dont think you guys understand how much easier this will be to decide on areas to fish with real fisherman that have fished these areas for years. I am SO excited you have no idea and keep the response coming and I definetly have to look into the new regulation for Halibut. Started reading yesterday a little about the $costs and limits are changing. The RV thing actually sounds pretty **** awesome just have to run it by Pops. So pumped and thanks for everything and keep it coming.

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    Default Homework

    Research is the key to finding your quality trip. These guys gave you good tips. If you want more information, give me a call; I've been commuting to and from this place for over 20 years...

    www.alaskanauthor.com
    "Two decades researching and defining fishing opportunities in the Last Frontier!"


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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    It all comes down to your style of fishing... Do you just want to slay fish all day with very little thought or do you want to work hard for your fish? Do you like fishing salt water or freshwater? Whats your budget? Would you rather have a guide doing everything for you or not? Do you want a guide? Do you fly fish or gear fish or both? Do you want to catch many species (different salmon trout etc) or just a few?
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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